Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme In The NFL When It Comes To Ezekiel Elliott

Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme In The NFL When It Comes To Ezekiel Elliott

When will players wake up and realize they're defending a criminal?
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To say that the players of the NFL are hypocrites when it comes to their “activism” would be an incredible understatement. When it comes to the way that the NFL has taken a stance on social justice over the past two months, their two-faced nature has proven to be polarizing and largely ineffective. Namely, when the spotlight is taken off of the players taking a knee for the National Anthem, the focus turns to Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliott.

Early last year, Elliott was accused of domestic abuse with a former girlfriend. When the Dallas Cowboys selected Elliott with the 4th overall pick in 2016’s draft, the accusations that were being thrown Elliott’s way were not in consideration when the Cowboys made their selection. However, during July of 2016, Elliott’s ex-girlfriend came forward again, discussing continued abuse that took place throughout the summer. She revealed bruises, scars and threatening text messages that Elliott sent to his self-proclaimed “friend with benefits”. However, these accusations were disregarded and Elliott was allowed to play throughout the duration of the 2016 season, even though the evidence was strikingly present and the NFL even acknowledged the fact that Elliott was responsible for the bruises on his accuser’s arms, face, and torso.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017 when NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell, alongside high-ranking NFL officials, re-opened the investigation into Elliott’s charges. However, the NFL Players Association has stepped in and they have done everything humanly possible in order to defend Elliott’s inhumane behavior. Over the past 4 months, a dirty legal battle has kept Elliott on the field, as the court’s inability to come to a decision has allowed “Zeke” to play each Sunday as evidence and accusations loom over each game. And although the NFL has tried to suspend Elliott on six separate occasions, Elliott’s fellow players have to come to his defense each and every time.

This concept is called “selective activism”, and it’s killing the NFL’s image, integrity, and of course, their ratings. However, this false sense of “social justice” is not only an issue for the NFL at a corporate level, as the players are feeling the heat as well.

Hypocrisy is the flavor of the month at NFL stadiums, where players will speak up against police brutality and white-on-black violence, while these same players will defend a violent domestic abuser with their dying breath. Who are these players to lecture anyone on “modern social justice” while they harbor a violent criminal within their own walls? This begs an even greater question. Where are the criminal charges for Elliott? Or Ray Rice for that matter? Or the countless domestic abusers in the long history of the NFL? Are these players exempt from basic American law simply because they play football?

The worst part is that American society has held football players and sports icons to this incredible standard for too long now. The damage is done. Ray Rice was able to beat his fiancee to a bloody pulp and only received a 2 game suspension from the NFL with no criminal charges whatsoever. Ezekiel Elliott was able to leave his ex-girlfriend bloodied and scarred and still plays in the national spotlight each Sunday. And of course former star running back for the Buffalo Bills, O.J. Simpson, who famously killed his ex-wife and escaped conviction, while his defense team used his star power to evade the law.

The NFL is notorious for crime amongst its players, and the NFL Players Association will always do everything possible to defend rampant criminals, no matter how much blood is on their hands. The ultimate hypocrisy occurs when these same players will “use their platform” to “preach social justice”, but fail to realize that their union is the very same one that defends proven criminals in the face of undeniable evidence. And now, one of those proven criminals will play once again this week, as he has been all year, after being granted a temporary restraining order and a postponement to his hearing that will allow him to specifically play this week.

There are about 4.7 million American women who suffer from domestic violence each year, and Ezekiel Elliott’s ex-girlfriend is just one drop in an ever-expanding ocean of American violence. That number grows each and every year, while the players of the NFL sit back and stoke the fire. If the NFL wants to clear their image, Ezekiel Elliott must be suspended, and criminal charges must be considered. However, if the players of the NFL truly want to make a difference, and actually “use their platform” for good, then they should take a step back and realize that blindly defending a violent domestic abuser is wrong, no matter how well he can run a football.

The utter hypocrisy that the NFL Players Association has shown throughout this entire series of events is mind-numbing. The fact that a man like Elliott can be defended so vigorously by so many, despite countless pieces of evidence working against him is simply unfathomable. The blood is quite literally on “Zeke’s” hands, and still, his colleagues defend him as if he is the one who has been mistreated and victimized. So before you give a hand to the NFL players who protest on the sidelines each week, remember that these are the men who will continuously take a knee for what they believe is right, but will never take a stand against what is truly wrong.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

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Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

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Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Taking A Step Back From My Sport Allowed Me To Be Able To Work On These 3 Things

Sometimes you need time away to appreciate the things you love.

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Since the age of nine, horses have been my whole life. Before college, I never had your typical teenage experience. My weekends were spent driving two hours one way to train with a top show barn. My mom and I lived out of our suitcases during the summers, traveling from one show to the next.

The only glimpse of the senior prom I got was through Snapchat's my friends sent of them having the time of their life, while I was going to bed at nine to make sure I had plenty of sleep to compete the next day. I even graduated early to go work for a show barn in Florida for five months. I missed out on a lot, but it never felt that way because of how passionate I was about the sport. I was all in, I loved the thrill of competing, the early mornings, the long days, and most of all: the horses. If you would have told me that I would be here writing about feeling burned out a year ago, I would have laughed.

Going away to college and having to put a bit of pause on my athletic career allowed me to take a step back, breathe, and realize there is so much more than horse shows and blue ribbons to this world. If I could instill a piece of wisdom to my younger self it would be that taking a step back at times is the best thing you can do for yourself. Here is what I learned:

1. Mental health

As many of you know, the pressure of succeeding can put a toll on anyone. I have always been extremely hard on myself, but when I was showing almost every weekend I really started to notice that I would feel upset more than I felt happy. I could win the class but still, come out of the ring criticizing myself over every little thing that went wrong. Because of this, I went into the ring nervous and doubtful. It wasn't fun anymore.

After taking a step back, I have realized that there will always be ups and downs in any sport. I now go into the ring much more confident and I come out smiling- even when it didn't go as planned. There will always be another chance.

2. Physical health

Like any sport, riding takes a toll on your body. After working in Florida for five months, riding up to 12 horses a day, I really felt like something was wrong with my back. However, I pushed through the pain, convincing myself of the quote "no pain no gain". I continued to ignore it, until one day it was unbearable.

I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had herniated my L5 disc. He told us this was completely preventable if I would have rested or taken an hour out of my day to ice and stretch when the pain started. After months of healing and being on a first name basis with my chiropractor, I have realized just how important it is to put my wellness first.

3. Relationships

Taking a step back has also allowed me to develop better relationships with myself, family, and friends. Before, I had such a narrow mind frame and would allow my performance to dictate how I treated people that day. Now after a rough day, I am much better at putting it behind me and not dwelling on it.

I have also realized that I need time to just be "still". Practicing yoga, or meditating for five minutes has made a world of a difference in my relationship with myself (yes, that is a thing).

While packing up to go to school this past August, knowing I would be taking a step back from the sport I love, I felt as though I would never ride as well as I did when it consumed my whole life. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I am now going into the show ring with a clear mind and leaving with a smile on my face.

To my surprise, it has been more than me starting to have fun again- I am riding better, and getting more consistent results than I had before. So, to all those athletes out there that fear to take a step back from their own sport, I am here to tell you that it may just be the best thing you can do for your performance and yourself...

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